Woman of Character

Woman of Character is a film by Anna Shilongo about her experience with Sister Catherine McNamee, CSJ during the Spring of 2014 oral history project at St. Catherine University. Part of an ongoing project to support and promote the development of NationalCatholicSistersWeek.org.

Sister Catherine McNamee is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She lives in the Carondelet Village, where she finds most joy and excitement just living amongst her fellow colleagues, her fellow friends. It’s one place where she finds the most joy.

Carondelet Village has always been a place of harmony, of joy, of prayer, of community to her. Therefore she will not ask for anything else, except to be around the community she has known all her life, and that she will always know and remember.

Sister Catherine McNamee is very happy and delighted to be at this stage of her life, where she lives a life of joy in her old age, knowing that she has done what she wants to do. She has lived her life to please her community, to please her calling, and to bring joy to her heart. She does everything she does--whether it’s for family, for friends, for her community--as a leader in her own endeavors, she does it with joy and with a willing heart. She is, indeed, a woman of character.

Women like this are very rare in communities, and we need to treasure their existence. Therefore, knowing the life of Sister Catherine McNamee brings joy to many women--knowing there are women out there who are different. Women out there who have taken the vow of faith, and stand strong in it. Seeing every day as if it was the first day, living every moment as if it was the last.

Sister Catherine McNamee loves to spend time in nature. Being amongst nature brings her so much joy. Seeing the plants looking beautiful and attractive, the animals that just keep nature so overwhelmingly attractive. The water, the sound of nature, where she just thinks of what the magnificent and wonderful God she serves. She loves to be with nature. She enjoys to be amongst the creation of God, knowing that she herself is a beautiful creation.

So in her spare time, she finds time to go and be amongst nature, with a beautiful book to read, and just enjoy every moment of it. She says life is wonderful, and we should treasure every little single moment of it. She finds God’s creation very interesting. Therefore, she is happy to be amongst it.

Sometimes she will spend time with her community, with the other Sisters of St. Joseph or with friends that she has come to know, be [they] Sisters of St. Catherine--Sisters of St. Joseph--or friends that she’s come to know, lay friends. And her community keeps on growing.

She is friendly, and a humble lady in everything that she takes part in. To her, there is nothing as beautiful as just spending time with other people, as well. Enjoying the fun moments, the laughter, the joy, the sorrows of the community, you know? As a human being, those are essential to one’s growth.

She says, in every endeavor that she takes part in, she works to choose her battles correctly. She says if she doesn’t want to fight that battle, she wouldn’t get involved in it. Which is a great approach to life. Knowing that certain battles, no matter how much you fight them, you will not overcome them. Therefore, one should always choose their battles wisely.

So for those who are inspired, Sister Katherine lives life simply by being herself. Being herself, smiling every day, showing that life is worth living. It doesn’t always go smoothly, but one should always find the good side of life--the side that many people don’t see. So let’s be positive, just as Sister Katherine is, and let’s humble ourselves and love every creature, every other person--love others as we love ourselves, and with joy and peace in our hearts. Keep on being peaceful.

Anna Shilongo

About Anna Shilongo

Anna Shilongo is an international student from Namibia, Africa. She is completing her Bachelor of Science degree at St. Catherine University where she is majoring in Women and International Development with a minor in International Relations. Anna loves working with people and hopes to use the skills she develops to empower women and her entire global community. She is a positive-minded young woman who enjoys meeting new people and learning about other cultures. During the Spring of 2014 she was paired with Sister Catherine McNamee, CSJ; a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. After completing her work as an oral historian she continued to work for SisterStory as an office assistant.